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Top 20 Online Master’s in Health Informatics Programs for 2017

If you are passionate about information technology and its role in healthcare, an online master’s in health informatics prepares you for a growing and lucrative career. As healthcare institutions adapt to a rapidly aging population, higher enrollment rates, and changing technologies, the demand for information specialists will continue to rise.

As a recent report by the American Health Information Management Association found, health information professionals with a master’s degree experience increased salaries, lowered unemployment rates, and greater opportunity to administrative roles than those holding only a bachelor’s degree. A master’s degree can also provide the competitive edge you need to land a high-paying and satisfying job.

WHAT IS HEALTH INFORMATICS?

From research data to patient records and billing, effective information systems are central to proper functioning healthcare institutions. Professionals in health informatics integrate central concepts from information technology and healthcare, with the goal of leveraging cutting-edge technology to obtain, categorize, store, and assess medical records.

Health informatics practitioners often specialize in specific aspects of information systems, such as coding or systems administration. Other areas of specialization are available for nurses or medical professionals who hope to train and lead healthcare providers to adopt new technologies. Healthcare administrators will rely on the expertise of health informatics specialists to ethically and legally implement new information systems. Opportunities for employment are abundant, and the diverse curriculum of an online master’s in health informatics allows learners to tailor the degree for specific careers.

WHAT ARE THE BEST ONLINE MASTER’S IN HEALTH INFORMATICS?

How to Choose an Online Master’s in Health Informatics Program

Prospective students should consider several factors while researching the right master’s in health informatics online, including program structure, curriculum, tuition, and accreditation status. Several schools offer unique concentrations and internships, which may require additional credits of study. While most health informatics online master’s take two years to complete, learners should review the average completion times at their prospective schools. Additionally, though many health informatics master’s online programs can be completed remotely, some require hybrid or on-campus participation.

If you are interested in specific certifications, review the curriculum and accreditation specifics of each MHI online; your prospective school should be accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education. Finally, contact each school to speak with an admissions advisor for more information. As an applicant, choosing the right school means exploring which program meets your personal and professional needs.

Careers for Graduates of this Program

Depending on your specialization and work experience, earning a M.S. in health informatics online prepares you for a diversity of career paths. These positions requires you to leverage the technical knowledge, leadership skills, and problem-solving techniques developed during your studies. Geographical location and institutional needs impact available careers, but some of the most common trajectories include careers as health information specialists, clinical informatics managers, health information managers, informatics nurses, and information technology project managers.

Job Outlook and Salary

After completing a health informatics master’s degree online, graduates face a bright future with exceptional opportunities to advance in the field. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment is projected to grow 15% between 2014 and 2024 for healthcare information technicians, much higher than the average for all occupations. Emerging technology, an aging population, and constant changes in healthcare practices all contribute to this rapid growth in health informatics. Job seekers with a master’s degree hold an additional advantage, and find work in well-paying entry level and managerial roles.

Employment Growth for Medical Records and Health Information Technicians
Employment, 2014 Projected Employment, 2024
188,600 217,600

Source: BLS

SALARY GROWTH BY EXPERIENCE

Health informatics professionals experience positive salary growth over time. With more experience, the potential to earn more money increases. The following chart depicts reported salaries for several careers in health informatics, and shows how projected earnings grow at different stages. Beginning with your entry into health informatics, you will find a lucrative career that lasts a lifetime.

PROFESSIONAL ORGANIZATIONS

Joining a professional organization is essential for success in the field of health informatics. Whether you are looking for additional professional certifications, continuing education opportunities, or simply want to network with professionals in your field, professional organizations exist to support you. The following organizations assist practitioners in health informatics and medical information management systems.

American Medical Informatics Association

AMIA is a professional, scientific organization for professionals and students in healthcare informatics. They offer research, continuing education, certifications, and opportunities for networking in the profession.

American Health Information Management Association

The AHIMA provides research and continuing education for health information managers. Comprehensive online certifications and professional activities are available for all members.

Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society

The HIMSS offers healthcare information systems professionals with opportunities to network, advance research, and collaboratively explore new technologies available in the market.

American Nursing Informatics Associatio

The ANIA connects nurse informatics specialists to the latest advancements in technology, medical practices, and professional development opportunities. ANIA focuses on the unique challenges of integrating nursing science with information technology.


To determine the best online master’s in health informatics programs, we looked at the most important factors prospective students, mainly common predictors of future success and a school’s commitment to online programs. This boils down to admissions rate, student loan default rate, retention rate, graduation rate, and the percent of students enrolled in online classes. All data points are taken from information provided by colleges and universities to the National Center for Education Statistics.

Each factor is weighted evenly in order to give an objective view and determine the best online master’s in health informatics programs. To calculate our rankings, we looked at a school’s ranking when organized by a single factor, and then averaged each category’s ranking to find an overall score: Admissions Rate (20%) + Default Rate (20%) + Retention Rate (20%) + Graduation Rate (20%) + Percent of Students Enrolled in Online Classes (20%) = Final score.